Micronecta scholtzi

Micronecta scholtzi occurs in still or slow flowing water where the preferred habitat of plant free shallow water over gravel or stones with some sediment is  present. Unlike most water bugs which overwinter as adults Micronecta species overwinter as nymphs, second or third instar in the case of M. scholtzi, which develop into adults by June. A summer generation becomes adult in August and this second generation gives rise to the nymphs which overwinter. The males of M. scholtzi are able to produce a very loud ‘song’ to attract females that can be heard from the bank above the water. The sound is made by rubbing a ridged aedeagus (penis) against a small corrugated structure on the abdomen called a strigil. It is so loud that the insect has been dubbed the loudest animal on earth (relative to body size).

Micronecta-scholtzi-plus-map

The map is based on records from NBN Gateway, with yellow dots showing pre 1990 records, reds dots 1990 – 2015 records and red on yellow dots overlapping records. Micronecta scholtzi is the most common of the four British species of Micronecta, occurring throughout much of England, especially the Midlands and eastern areas, with a few records in Wales. It is scarce in northern England and absent from Scotland and Ireland

With a length of 2.0 – 2.5 mm Micronecta scoltzi is generally larger than the other species of Mirconecta and has a distinctive pattern of brown markings on the vertex, somtimes described as a trident, with one central stripe and a stripe bordering each eye.